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Study looks at longevity of various relationships

According to a study that appeared in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, male-male couples are less likely to break up than female-female couples or male-female couples. Based on the study's findings, couples in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are no more likely to stay together if they legalize the relationship.

The study looked at the relationships of more than 500 couples in Vermont from 2002 to 2014. It found that women in heterosexual relationships were 1.5 times more likely to end the relationship and that they were twice as likely to do so in same-sex relationships.

Factors in female-female relationships that increased the likelihood of them lasting were older age, increased education and relationship quality. Among all couples, all of these factors except education were all significant in couples staying together. Neither income nor having children appeared to affect whether any of the relationships lasted.

One study author reported that research has suggested that relationship quality is more important to women in heterosexual relationships than to men and that the same dynamic may be at work in female-female relationships. This was the first study of its type to look at legal same-sex relationships compared to heterosexual relationships over a dozen years. Another study author said the research may help combat stereotypes against same-sex couples and aid in policy development.

In most cases, the issues around same-sex couples and divorce are not very different from those faced by heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples will need to go through the same process of property division, and one person might be required to pay alimony to the other. The major difference may involve child custody if one person is a biological parent and the other person has not legally adopted the child. It might be advisable to have legal advice in this kind of situation.

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